All things “butterfly” will be the focus of the Kansas Wetlands Education Center’s Butterfly Festival from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 16.

From magic shows to tagging monarch butterflies, kids and adults will find plenty to do during this free event. New this year, Butterfly Magic, a puppet magic show by the Fishin’ Magicians, explores the mystery of the butterfly life cycle through magic, puppets and humor.

“We’re excited to have Steve Craig and Amy Short present their unique brand of humor and magic during the festival this year,” said Curtis Wolf, KWEC site manager. “And we’re hoping for a lot of monarchs for everyone to catch and tag.”

Craig and Short have been entertaining audiences for more than 30 years. Using traditional and unique props, they perform classic and original magic to tell the butterfly lifecycle story. The Fishin’ Magicians will perform three 30-minute shows at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:15 a.m., sponsored by the Grace Van Skike Memorial and Landmark National Bank.

Nets and tags will be available for those who want to capture and tag monarch butterflies. Participants will receive information about the tagging process before heading out with a tagging leader to search for butterflies. During the last two years, 13 tagged monarchs released at KWEC have been recovered from winter roosts in Mexico.

Weather permitting, an exhibit bee hive will be on display in the insect zoo in addition to giant walking stick insects, hissing and peppered cockroaches and butterflies, caterpillars and chrysalises. Plan to spend the morning, as door prizes will be presented around noon, along with free milkweed plants (one per family). Information on butterfly-friendly plants will be available, along with examples of butterfly-friendly plants in the KWEC pollinator garden.

Kids can play in the mud and make a seed bomb of soil mixture and native flower seeds, to take home to plant. Find your inner insect by taking your photo at monarch butterfly and caterpillar photo boards and dress-up area. Create caterpillar and butterfly crafts in the class room, then refuel with light refreshments and drinks. Temporary tattoos and other activities round out the morning’s events.

For more information, contact KWEC at (877) 243-9268 or visit wetlandscenter.fhsu.edu.